Grace and Truth
08. GOOD NEWS FOR MUSLIMS
BIBLE 1 to 5 : Answering the Muslim accusation that the Bible has been corrupted
4 - WHY CAN YOU TRUST THE BIBLE?
CHALLENGE: Many Muslims have never held a Koran in their hands, either because their country is only superficially Islamized, they are in a liberal environment, or because they live in underdeveloped areas. Other Muslims have left Islam and the Koran and are in search of the truth. Again, other Muslims have understood from the Koran that the Bible was never corrupted. Such Muslims, as well as others, ask themselves the question: Why should I look into the Bible? Can I trust the Bible? What does the Bible say about itself? Does it contain evidence as to its own trustworthiness?
ANSWER: The God who is described in the Bible is not silent, and He does not act like blind fate. No, He is alive, and speaks. He talks, answers, reacts, judges, forgives, commands, promises, encourages, and comforts. The Book of the Bible was not written by God Himself, but by people who lived with this God. In their writings they recorded, under the leading of God's Holy Spirit, what God had spoken to them; and they described in their own words what God had done among them. If you read the Bible and believe what it says you, too, can become a witness to what God has said and done. In this manner God's earlier actions become true in your life. Thus, the Bible is not just a book about history, but it is a Holy Writing that can change your life. But for that to happen, you must listen to the men of God, by reading what they have written in the Bible. Read or listen to the Bible; then you yourself can find out if the Bible can be trusted!
That I did myself. This is why I trust the Bible. I discovered that God's witnesses in the Bible recorded important instructions and deep insights into God's act of talking itself and into the testimony of others regarding what He did. Some of it I want to pass on to you here, so that you can get into to the Bible for yourself and come to trust it:
-- Concerning the commandments of God the prophet MOSES writes: “You shall not add to the word which I command you, nor take anything from it, that you may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.” (Deuteronomy 4:2) No one who believes God's Word in the Bible would dare to omit something, add something, or change something in the Bible to corrupt it. God Himself commands us not to do that. And He wants us to do what He commands us!
-- Concerning the words and actions of God, DAVID, as king and prophet, wrote: “For the word of the LORD is truthful, and all His work is done in faithfulness.” (Psalm 33:4) The God who is described in the Bible has a name that He revealed to Moses. In the Hebrew language it is “JAHWE”, and out of reverence for HIM it is usually rendered as “the LORD” (using capital letters). “JAHWE”, the name of the God of the Bible, expresses that He is true and faithful. When He says something, regardless of it being addressed to His friends or to His foes, He does not deceive, but speaks the full truth. In Him there is never a trace of lying. When He promises something He most assuredly fulfills His promise. This is what David experienced, and therefore he trusted God's workings and God's word in the Bible.
-- God held a unique conversation with His prophet JEREMIAH regarding His word: “The word of the LORD came to me, saying, 'Jeremiah, what do you see?' And I said 'I see a budding branch of an almond tree.' Then the Lord said to me; 'You have seen well, for I am ready to perform my word.' ” (Jeremiah 1:11-12) We learn two things from this conversation with God: God's promises are fulfilled without fail, and God Himself, in His omnipotence and majesty, watches over His word to see it fulfilled. In the Bible we are, therefore, not only dealing with God's word, but with God Himself, who works and acts that which He says and promises. If He condemns me for the sake of my sins, I am truly lost. If He forgives me my sins for the sake of His sacrifice of redemption, then He fully takes away my condemnation. This is the hidden power present in the Bible.
-- CHRIST was tempted by the devil when He fasted in the wilderness. To ward off Satan, He trusted in God's word in the Torah, and confronted the devil with it. He said to him: “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:4) In so doing, Christ successfully warded off the temptation of the devil. If you accept God's word in the Bible, you will live, and be able to ward off Satan's temptations too.
-- CHRIST, the messenger of God, is Himself the Word of God that became flesh. Therefore He said: “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.” (Matthew 24:35) Just as God's word cannot pass away, so the words of Christ will not pass away, for Christ is Himself the Word of God. Christ's words are preserved in the Gospel.
-- The Apostle PAUL wrote: “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes.” (Romans 1:16) Believe in the Gospel of Christ, and you will be saved from sin, from the devil, from death, and from the wrath of God, and you will experience the power for this Good News from God!
-- JOHN, the prophet and apostle, spoke about the revelations he had experienced, and which he recorded in his book: “For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the tree of life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.” (Revelation 22:18-19) This threat of John is the reason why Christians never falsify their Holy Scriptures. Whoever falsifies God's word loses heaven and gains hell. Who would voluntarily do that?
GOOD NEWS: You can trust the Bible! Why? Because God Himself is true and faithful. His word in the Bible is saturated with His truth. The testimonies regarding His actions in the Bible reveal His unswerving faithfulness. If you believe in God's word in the Bible, you will experience the saving, healing, and preserving power of God.
TESTIMONY: My name is Immanuel, and I am a Uyghur from northwestern China. When I was a small child, my Muslim father sent me to the Koran school. Even before I went to a normal school, I had memorized 70% of the Koran in Arabic. After I finished highschool I went to the university in our province's capital. There I studied the language and history of my people. I found out that in the Middle Ages my people were predominantly Christian, and that later on they were more influenced by Islamic Sufism, than they were by the Koran. I became interested in the Christian roots of my people. At the university I met a foreign Christian. I learned a lot from him about the Bible and faith in Christ. I studied the present-day Bible and compared it to a Middle Age translation of the Bible in an old form of our language, Chaghatai. I found out that over the many centuries since the first translation for my people the Bible had not been changed or falsified, but that merely the language of my people had changed. Uyghurs today, therefore, can no longer understand the old Chagatai translation of the Bible. In studying the Bible I noticed that a power went out from it. I opened myself to this power of God and came to faith in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Today I am helping to translate the Bible into modern Uyghur. I take care to make sure that no word is added to or taken away from the Bible as I translate it.
PRAYER: You true and faithful God of the Bible. I thank you that you called men and women, who faithfully and truthfully wrote down your words and deeds in the writings of the Bible. Open my heart that I may experience the truth of your words and your faithful dealings in my life.